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Living Room Ideas: The Ultimate Design Resource Guide

Luxury modern living room with extra seating for guests
David Henderson85 / Shutterstock

Once inside your front door, the first room your guests and family members are likely to encounter is your living room. You host gatherings in your living room, snack on the couch while watching TV, listen to children practice musical instruments, and just generally hang out in this multifunctional space. The way you design your living room can set the design feel for your entire home. You may also change your living room décor at various times of the year for different holidays and seasons.

Because you spend so much time in your living spaces, physical and visual comfort is important. You don’t have to compromise on style and décor in favor of comfort, however. In fact, you can fill your living room with furniture that is as functional as it is beautiful. Similarly, you can choose accent pieces and floor coverings that also boast comfort and usability.

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Another important aspect to consider when designing your living space is durability. Due to the high traffic your living room will likely experience, it is worth spending a bit more on higher-quality furniture and floor furnishings to realize extended use and not necessitate constant repair, refurbishing or cleaning. Choose fabrics that are both pleasing and durable. In addition, choose colors that transition well when you set out new décor items each season.

More extensive living room remodeling projects may include structural changes. These can include changing windows and doors, replacing walls with ceiling beams to create an open concept, and refacing or replacing fireplaces. If your project includes these in-depth changes, you’ll need to research local building codes and permitting requirements. Changes that include electrical or plumbing work may require working with a licensed professional under special permits. If your interior changes impact your exterior design, also check with your homeowner’s association to ensure you are staying within regulations.

No matter how many ways you use your space or how many times each year you change out your tchotchkes, you can find living room ideas in the collection of inspiration pieces we’ve gathered and shared below. From ultra-formal to ultra-comfortable, your living room can become the blank slate upon which you introduce your home’s design.

Living room centerpiece ideas

Living room with fireplace in contemporary home

Ivan Hunter / Getty Images

As with all the uniquely designed rooms in your home, you’ll want to have a focal point for your living room. This focal point is where your eyes are instantly drawn when you enter the room. Without a focal point, your room can feel like an overwhelming mix of decorating themes, each competing with the next for attention.

A centerpiece is a great way to create a focal point in your living room. Living room centerpiece ideas can include floral designs, an elaborate design piece like a monogram or a stunning fireplace. Your own furniture can be a great way to create your living room centerpiece. Classic designs usually place sofas or seats along walls, creating empty space in the middle of a room. Instead, you can center your seating furniture to create both a great visual and a cozy conversational area. Don’t be afraid of angles, either, when you arrange your furniture. Often, placing facing pieces on the diagonal can change the entire feel of your living room.

Small living room ideas

Small rustic living room

Bulgac / Getty Images

Maximize your living space with minimalist designs, clever pieces of décor that make a small space feel bigger, or pieces that serve multiple purposes. When it comes to small living room ideas, the common theme is that less is more, both in the colors you choose for your walls and the furniture that fills the space.

Oversized furniture can make an already small room feel even more cramped, and change a space with a lot of potential to a space you can’t wait to exit. Likewise, overly vibrant paint colors can make your walls look like they are closing in on your room. Instead, aim for a light and airy feel, with smaller or more delicate-looking furniture, and emphasize light and bright through neutral hues, lots of natural light, and mirrors to create the illusion of extra space. Wicker or Victorian-era wooden furniture can instantly open a small space. Light blues and yellows can make a cramped space seem larger, and less bric-a-brac on your tables and walls can create an uncluttered and hospitable design.

Living room decorating ideas

Living room with large windows and white daybed

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

You can choose between one of two schools of thought for living room decorating ideas — a variety of pieces that all reflect one unified theme or a simple design that can be the backdrop for décor pieces representing many styles. To begin designing your living room remodel, literally begin from the ground up.

If your living room is part of a much larger open concept space within your home, you can choose a different type of flooring, like an area rug, to set off the living area. On the flip side of that design, if you have a small living room, unifying the flooring with surrounding areas can lead to the feel of a much larger space.

In addition to the flooring type, you can change up the style and color of your flooring to create different feels. A vivid geometric design is a great addition to a modernist space, while refinished hardwood floors can harken back to a historic home’s past. You can use complementary hues between your floors and walls to create the overall color palette.

Living room paint ideas

Living room with blue couches and walls

Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

A can of paint is one of the easiest, fastest and least expensive ways to completely change the look of your living room. Two great living room paint ideas include adding an accent wall and adding texture to your walls.

If your living room lacks a focal point, or if you want to further emphasize a focal point, an accent wall can emphasize a particular shade, or you could use a complimentary design like stripes or two hues separated by a chair rail. In a small room that a bright tone may overwhelm, you can still incorporate your favorite shade on one wall while the others boast a more neutral color. If your décor pieces can best be described as eclectic, an accent wall can pick up on a common hue and make each item pop.

Textured walls are also a great way to change the feel of your living room. You can use either visual or physical texture to fulfill this idea. With visual texturing, your wall may feature a feather design with contrasting paint to the main wall color. This type of design is still flat against the wall and often called faux painting. For physical texturing, your ultimate design may encompass the look of a plaster wall, a swirl effect, a Mediterranean or Spanish knife texture, or nearly any other texture your mind can imagine. Once you pick your room’s overall design, texturizing your walls is a great way to show it off.

Inspiration

Modern industrial style living room with concrete ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows

Gladiathor / Getty Images

If you’re struggling to find the best living room ideas to update your home, use our vast library of design inspirations to get started. For eclectic collections, read about creating a unique vintage feel. When it’s time to redecorate for the holiday season, use our Christmas design ideas for inspiration. If you can’t figure out where the TV should be placed, we have advice on that too. And don’t forget to check our infographic that provides guidance on laying out your furniture to maximize results.

When you spend extra time thoughtfully planning out your design, your living room will become the wonderfully welcoming space you want it to be.


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